The indefatigable Charles Green delivered a tough critique of Connor Poole’s essay fulfilling the requirement of an assignment asking high school students to emulate the satire in Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” and similarly propose an outrageous solution to a contemporary social problem. There are really two issues here, and Charles only deals with one: I believe Connor’s paper was an excellent attempt at Swiftian satire, especially for a high school student, and this is Charles counterpoint to that position. He does not, as far as I can perceive, try to justify the school, North County High School, turning the essay into a controversy and Connor into a pariah.
Good. That, which is the primary ethics issue, is beyond rational dispute. What the school and community are doing to Connor is the equivalent of ordering a kid to juggle flaming torches, and then attacking him when something gets scorched.
Here is Charles’ Comment of the Day on the post, Update: This Is The Student’s Controversial Essay Emulating The Satire Of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”.
I’ll be back at the end.
Here is what I think Poole’s teacher should have written to him in response to his essay:
Connor, I’m giving you a grade of C+ on this paper. Here’s why.